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Palestinians Report New Death From Friday’s Protest Clashes

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported Monday the death of a Gaza man who was shot by Israeli forces during a protest last week.

The death brings the total number of those killed to at least 17, according to Palestinian health officials. Hundreds more people were injured in the clashes.

The Israeli military said its soldiers opened fire at the demonstrators only when a number of them tried to damage the border fence and threw rocks and firebombs.

Israel also says 10 of the protesters killed were terrorists who tried to sneak across the border.

Friday’s violence along the Gaza Strip was the deadliest day between Israelis and Palestinians since 2014.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel will not cooperate with any independent investigation into the violence, and accused Hamas of “cynically exploiting women and children” protesters as a cover while it carries out acts of violence.

The United States blocked a U.N. Security Council statement urging a U.N. probe into the violence.

“I do not understand the chorus of hypocrites who want a commission of inquiry,” Lieberman wrote on Twitter Saturday. “They got confused and thought Hamas organized a Woodstock festival yesterday, and that we should give them flowers.”

Many of the Palestinians who were wounded said they were not part of the more militant marchers. Some said they were shot for merely standing close to the fence. Other witnesses said some victims were hit by bullets while running away from the violence, not toward it.

“It’s important to show that we suffer under the occupation, we suffer from the policies of the Israeli government, and we will not stay silent,” Palestinian church leader Jamal Khader said in the West Bank Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who strongly condemned Israel for what he called an “inhumane attack.”

“The most moral army in the world will not be lectured by someone who for years has been bombing civilians indiscriminately,” Netanyahu said, calling Erdogan someone who “bombs Kurdish villagers.”

Both Israelis and Palestinians are preparing to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel in May.

Palestinians have set up tent camps along the entire length of the Gaza Strip. They call the May anniversary Nakba, or “catastrophe,” when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, unwilling to live under Israeli law, fled their homes in the war that led to the creation and U.N. recognition of the Jewish state.

Israel has deployed more than 100 snipers along the Gaza Strip as it plans a nationwide celebration for its 70th birthday.

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